Republican State Representative Rebecca Dow has announced she will run for governor, and her candidacy gives Republicans the opportunity to remember their roots – conservative values, fiscal prudence, and common sense – while at the same time moving the party away from the Trumpian poison that threatens to strangle the GOP. .
Dow is from Truth or Consequences, bringing a southern Santa Fe and Albuquerque mindset, as well as an understanding of rural voters and the concerns of residents outside of large population areas. His voice will add to the debate in the GOP primary for the governor, which is becoming crowded.
Former congressional candidate Karen Bedonie, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, retired teacher Tim Walsh and West Point investment advisor and graduate Greg Zanetti have already been announced.
A heavily populated primary could spark excitement among GOP voters. Competition in politics tends to do this.
And competition, whether in a race for governor or for a county commission seat, is too often overlooked by local Republicans. The state GOP must field candidates for all statewide races, not just the general election. The party must also generate interest in its primaries.
The State Auditor and Attorney General races will feature open seats, with no incumbents to push back. A dynamic field could prepare candidates for future faces and, on occasion, can lead to upheaval even in a place where Republican office holders statewide are off. The state’s congressional delegation consists of only one Republican, U.S. Representative Yvette Herrell, from the 2nd Congressional District.
Elections that serve voters and lead to better governance must start at the local level. After competitive primaries, Santa Fe County Democrats too often run unopposed in November.
This is the wrong way to approach politics and ultimately bad for the government, as it reduces the scope for compromise and only hardens the far edges of party dogmas already out of control.
While resources should be channeled to applicants with a decent chance of winning, grassroots efforts take sweat, not money. Every few elections, an upheaval can make the long-term effort worthwhile. Española has a GOP mayor, Javier Sánchez. Yes, it’s a non-partisan office, but a Republican running a heavily Democratic city didn’t come by accident. It took work and a candidate with no fear of the odds.
Which brings us back to Dow and the Republican domain for Governor.
Outgoing Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is clearly one of the first favorites to be re-elected, but she has encountered her share of political hurdles as the reality of long-term COVID-19 restrictions has started to irritate segments of the population. Republicans across the state have fought her every step of the way and are betting residents sick of the restrictions and worried about their wallets could give their camp another look.
Dow’s first press release wasted no time snapping photos of the governor, with beating on the character and criticism of his handling of the pandemic. If this is his opening move, expect a lot more. But at the end of the day, Republican candidates will have to ask themselves – and explain to voters – how different they’re going to be. Attacking the incumbent is easy; explaining how you are going to rule is difficult.
Still, Dow said The New Mexican: “I want this to be a message of hope. I’m really not running to wreck the governor. It is just time for a change.
It depends on the voters, of course. But at least they will have choices, and that is how a minority party can stay alive.